Between an honest "moron" and a competent "rascal"
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - October 23, 2015 - 10:00am

Which is the lesser evil: the devil or the deep blue sea, Scyllah or Charibides? In the most likely event that we, the electorate are pushed to the wall, and are going to be led into a dilemma of having to choose between an honest moron or a competent rascal for president, for governor, or for mayor, which way shall we venture into? Are we going to bite the bullet and risk our nation or local government in the hands of a scheming scalawag and a thieving scoundrel? Or should we rather place our bet in the honest moron?

Of course, the words "moron," ''rascal,'' ''scalawag,'' and ''scoundrel"' are vain attempts at hyperbole. But are we really gonna entrust the nation to a candidate whose moral authority to govern has been gravely devastated if not pulverized by too many unanswered accusations? Are we prepared to gamble away the patrimony of the nation and leave all of them to be administered by one whose reputation has been almost totally blown away by the ''slings and arrows of outrageous fortunes?" It is not because we are prejudging him. It is largely due to his refusal to defend himself.

Upon the other hand, we are presented with candidates who, truly may be the epitome of integrity, but who also have had unwittingly built a consistent array of blatant mediocrity, and a track record of seemingly congenital incompetence. Would the damage to the nation not be greater if an honest official should, by sheer lack of foresight, lack of prudence or plain stupidity, commit a monumental blunder that may endanger national security and put the welfare of the people in serious jeopardy? Are we prepared to be assaulted by a series of recklessness and imprudence that may lay into waste all our efforts and aspirations?

Could we risk our future and thoughtlessly invite dangerous hazards into the future of our children, as well as that of our children's children by electing an untested, inexperienced presidential or governatorial or mayoral bet even if he or she is completely honest and pure? Couldn't an honest but incompetent guy inflict heavier damage to the nation and the people than a highly competent scoundrel? For hasn't it been said that the road to hell is always paved with good intentions. Honest people who are incompetent may bring us to hell despite the purity of their objectives.

The choice between, on the one hand, a candidate who is honest but incompetent and, on the other hand, a thief who is a technical expert is indeed a highly demanding one. But if I am really compelled to make a choice, I would rather go for the honest moron. His incompetence may be curable by coaching, mentoring and counseling, coupled with training and technology transfer over a period of time. On the other hand, honesty is difficult to teach to a congenital liar and thief. Knowledge and skills may be acquired. Values, attitudes, and character are very hard to transform.

In the coming elections, we must be able to make an intelligent and conscientious choice based on a clear framework of decision-making. Any mistake is bound to entail far-reaching implications and heavy consequences. What matters most is that each one of us is given the power of choice. How we make such a crucial judgment may define us as Filipinos and as Christian. And such a choice shall entail so grave and far-reaching effects to ourselves and to our children, to our nation and people.


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